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Rare Access: Inspiration Is Everywhere

Rare Access: Inspiration Is Everywhere


In 2017, Stefanie DiGianvincenzo co-founded a movement called Rare. Its aim is to provide a pathway for a much broader range of creative talent to enter and thrive in the creative industries. The movement launched in November that year at D&AD, with masterclasses at Semi-Permanent, both supported by Sweetshop. Its program, now called Rare Access, has become a regular feature of D&AD and Semi-Permanent and Sweetshop has continued to be by its side.

This year’s Rare Access featured MBA-level executive training from renowned facilitator, Professor David Slocum, and inspiring tutorials from some of the world’s top creatives, leaders and activists. Its content covered topics from negotiation and creative leadership to unconscious bias and the power of vulnerability. The Rare program has been developed in partnership with Berlin School. Its line-up of 2019 speakers included Uber’s vice president of design, Michael Gough; big wave surfer, Keala Kennelly; director and founder of Free The Bid, Alma Har’el; creative director at Google Creative Labs, Tea Uglow; and founder of Skateistan, Oliver Percovich.

The 2019 masterclass took place in Sydney, while at the D&AD festival in London, Rare launched two new, experimental formats, each designed to propel underrepresented talent toward their greatest potential, in different ways.

On May 20, at D&AD HQ, Rare Leadership Fundamentals ran as a 1-day accelerator program designed to give new leaders from underrepresented groups the skills they need to hit the ground running. It featured leadership training from facilitator and executive coach, Nadya Powell, and tutorials from London’s top creative leaders, including Lucy Jameson, founder at Uncommon Creative Studios; Masaya Nakade, executive creative director at AKQA; and Selma Nicholls, founder at Look Like Me. From May 20 to 24, Rare Access gave 5 rare minds unprecedented access to the best of London’s D&AD Festival – including the chance to shadow the juries, attend the official judges welcome dinner, and receive a top-tier delegates pass.

Ryan Lanji was one of this year’s Rare talent at D&AD. Here is his story, #DANDAD19 x RARE w/ Ryan Lanji:

Wow, what a whirlwind. Not only was being chosen to participate in RARE Access a fulfilling experience, the events of the week surpassed all my expectations. As a creative who has freelanced for over nine years and garnered a position for myself in the LGBTQIA community, through my Queer East London Bollywood Hip Hop Night, HUNGAMA, I was apprehensive about what I could learn and what type of space there would be for me in the advertising world.

Everyone was welcoming and thrilled to hear about my projects and events I have curated. I was surprised to hear some valuable insight from CEOs and agency leaders, I was also surprised at how many “signs” I saw around Truman Brewery that sparked my interest and confirmed my passion of finding inspiration everywhere. I chose six of my most inspiring moments from the festival to share with you.

Please follow me on @mslanji (instagram) and can’t wait to see you at D&AD next year as a RARE Alumni. Thanks Stef, Sweetshop, Nadia and everyone else who made this experience unforgettable.

1.Give your destiny time to find you – Ajaz Ahmed, CEO and Founder of AKQA

2. Are you dependent on people less ambitious than you to make your dreams come true? – Lucy Jameson, CEO of Uncommon

3. Random tangents are where the most fun can be found – Street Artist: Notes To a Stranger

4. Change creative culture in places of power. Together. – Camila Gray, Art Director of UNICEF

5. Talent is Luck. The important thing in life is courage – Street Art, Anonymous

6. Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary – hotel room, Ace Hotel London

This piece was first published by The Stable on 27 May 2019.